The Mariners returned to Safeco Field on Wednesday night after a successful opening series in Texas. Twelve new Mariners entered the home clubhouse and found their new lockers for the first time. By Friday afternoon the players had somewhat settled into their new surroundings. One more Opening Night to go and then routines can be set, and it should be baseball as usual for the players.
For the manager, the process will continue. While Scott Servais appears to have mastered the off-field side of his job, he admitted that there is still a routine to get comfortable with in his pregame preparation with his coaches. As for the on-field part of the job, he can prepare only so much and decisions have to be made on the fly.
“It goes by pretty fast, I’m not going to lie,” he admitted in his pregame press conference Friday.
He has a team of coaches around him, however, and they will play an important role in the in game decision making.
“You will see us talking a lot,” said Servais. “Not just me standing there holding all the cards figuring out which one I am going to pull.”
One card he will take care of is the lineup card.
Norichika Aoki, LF
Ketel Marte, SS
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Franklin Gutierrez, DH
Dae-Ho Lee, 1B
Leonys Martin, CF
Taijuan Walker, RHP
• Once again we have Nelson Cruz in right field and Franklin Gutierrez at DH. Servais has said that he will need to limit Guti’s time in the field to keep him fresh. I suspect he hasn’t fully bounced back from the flu he had late in spring training. For the time being we will likely see Cruz and Gutierrez alternated when the Mariners face back-to-back lefties.
• Robinson Cano’s hot streak goes back to last year. In addition to leading the AL in home runs, he has a 19-game hit streak dating back to Sept. 16 for the longest active hitting streak in baseball.
• When Taijuan Walker takes the hill tonight, he will become the second youngest player in team history to start a home opener at 23 years and 239 days. The youngest is the birthday boy, Felix Hernandez, who turned 30 Friday.